Solicitors Regulation Authority updates warning notice Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation (SLAPPs)

The Solicitors Regulation Authority of England and Wales published an updated warning notice for solicitors about Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs) at the end of May, following the entry into law of the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023 and drawing on its own casework. SLAPPs are identified as a misuse of the legal system aimed at stifling public scrutiny and discourse through unmeritorious or abusive legal actions.

The notice draws attention to the new, more detailed definition of SLAPPs under the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023. The SRA, however, warns solicitors that it will take a broader interpretative approach, not purely limited by the legal definitions in the Act and will also assess solicitor conduct against established professional standards. Solicitors are reminded of the regulatory expectation that they identify and refuse to engage in actions that constitute SLAPPs or engage in abuse the litigation process, particularly when public interest matters are involved. The profession is also reminded that the SRA will undertake regulatory action against solicitors who misuse their position to engage in SLAPPs, and who do not maintain the levels of integrity, honesty, and adherence to legal and ethical standards expected.

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